When Ohio resident and baptized Sikh Balpreet Kaur found a photo of herself (taken without her knowledge) standing in line at the Ohio State University bookstore on Reddit, she wasn't fazed, not even when comments from the Reddit users started pouring in, mocking her facial hair, gender, outfit, and decision not to shave her facial hair.
As a baptized Sikh, Kaur is forbidden to alter her body, because it is considered a gift from God. When a friend told her about the Reddit thread, Kaur decided to address the issue herself and took to the thread. Here's what she had to say:
"Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture," she wrote. "I'm not embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positive] that this picture is getting, because it's who I am. The overarching principal is this body is a tool for service," she explained. "We have to maintain and take care of it while cherishing its original form."
"My hair doesn't stop me from being normal or doing service, so it's not a hindrance," she wrote in a later comment. "I've been to the doctor regarding this, and it's just a side effect of my hormone levels during my teenage years. The hormones have returned to normal, but the hair is still there. That's fine. I don't regret anything, nor do I view it as an unfortunate thing."
"Yes, I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused, and I look different than most women," she continued. "My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body…by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and, hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can."
People often forget that bullying can continue well into adult years, and as you may have read in our September issue, adult bullying in the workplace is particularly prevalant. We love that Kaur stood up to her bullies—her response even prompted the Reddit user who posted the photo to start a new thread with an apology to her!
Photo via Yahoo! Shine/Reddit